Feb 21, 2007 2:04pm
Re: Proof: the great ones, 1968--1971
Wow. Just powered through 2-14-68 in an attempt to broaden my pre-70's Dead horizons.
Where to begin? Well, it's not that I don't still prefer the 1977 stuff, but my eyes and ears have been opened.
I still don't like what I call the "dungeons and dragons" feel to songs like Cryptical...it just seems dated to me when they sing that kind of stuff...(guess why I preferred the later years when they dropped the front and back end of that Anthem material and just played TOO, but I digress)...
when they jam in shows like this (2-14-68) it IS INCREDIBLE. Just the raw energy in jerry's gritty guitar...the hard edge to the playing...and really, the whole band, when in the throes of that Alligator>Caution Jam are just BLAZING...it really is as hardcore as a punk band performance, and that makes sense given the time period, and the fact that these guys WERE the punks of their day--forging a psychedelic/hard rock/blues/garage band/jam-based marathon that was the new sound of its day.
I also love just how YOUNG Jerry sounds--he's full of the energy of the time and his own youthful power...and it really comes across when he lets his fingers fly. I can see how that time period is unrivaled in terms of that sheer youthful gusto--and given how hard they partied the burn-out that took Pig's life also took a toll as early as 1972...you do hear them start to mellow a bit then, even though that process began w/some of the country flavored songs of American beauty...but right up til Pig left their shows were marked by that uncanny power sound--ugly at times, raw always, but when ON, as itense as you can get.
So thanks for the suggestion--i'll be checking out some other pre-1970 stuff, and while I still think in the late 70's they werre a far more mature band, writing better songs and performing to a higher standard, there is no longer any doubt in my mind that some of the late 60's material, ESPECIALLY the "shut up and jam" sections, are a gold mine of amazing energy and mind blowing musical Dead.
4 stars for the show, a STRONG 4 stars, w/points off only b/c I still think the singing is VERY warbly in parts, and I just find some of the lyrics and certain musical sections dated . (Criticsms that can certainly be applied to some later Dead years as well).
Thanks again, G-Pig.